Making the Move to Modernize – Arkansas Association of Counties

As the “voice of county government,” the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) provides a multitude of programs and services to each of the state’s 75 counties. In addition to providing policy direction and lobbying efforts on counties’ behalf, the AAC offers general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. It also performs bookkeeping for a large number of county associations and maintains a generous scholarship trust. The complexity of the association’s accounting requires a robust and agile financial management solution. The AAC selected Sage Intacct as that solution and MicroAccounting as its technology partner.

Move to Modernize

“We’d been using Sage 100 for over a decade,” recalls Cindy Posey, Accounting and Human Resources Manager for the AAC. “While it was reliable, it wasn’t well suited to our changing needs. We are always looking for ways to use technology to improve our workflows, and we felt that a modern, cloud-based financial management solution would be a better fit for us.”

The AAC’s original Sage 100 partner recommended the organization consider Sage Intacct. “They referred us to MicroAccounting, because MicroAccounting knows both Sage 100 and Sage Intacct,” explains Posey. “They were in a great position to help us determine if Sage Intacct was the best option for us and to lead the migration from Sage 100.”

Rapid, Just-in-Time Implementation

Posey was immediately impressed with the consulting team at MicroAccounting. “They were very patient and professional with us through the decision-making process,” she says. “Together we decided Sage Intacct was the best next-generation solution for us — and MicroAccounting got it implemented for us — just in time as it turned out.”

The AAC and MicroAccounting completed the Sage Intacct implementation in January 2020. “At that time, we had no idea just how valuable a cloud-based financial management system would be,” says Posey. “Once the pandemic hit and everyone began working from home, if we didn’t have Sage Intacct, we would have been in trouble. 2020 was quite the year.”

MicroAccounting successfully completed the implementation remotely, saving time and expense for the AAC. “It went very quickly too,” notes Posey. “We signed the contract and were live within three months.”

Technology to Meet the Challenges

In addition to pandemic ramifications, the AAC faced other changes and challenges during the year, all of which reinforced the value of its technology upgrade. Sage Intacct provides the scalability the organization needs and the product’s multi-entity capabilities simplify the management of its dozens of separate legal entities. “We took on an additional group of counties, which significantly increased our workload and the number of entities our accounting software needs to accommodate,” says Posey. “Plus, the state’s video arraignment program tripled during the year, again giving us more to manage and additional workflows to track. Sage Intacct was up for the job. We’re so relieved and pleased we had it in place.”

Streamlined Workflows with Paperless Processing

Sage Intacct is streamlining every vital workflow for the organization. “Sage Intacct is making an enormous difference for us,” says Posey. “We’ve gone completely paperless in accounts payable and accounts receivable. We scan incoming documents and attach them to the associated record in Sage Intacct. Before, we had file cabinets full of photocopied checks and invoices. Now that information is all electronic. Not only do we save paper and filing space, but the information is also instantly accessible to our employees from wherever they’re working.”

The AAC’s accounting firm performs a voluntary audit every year. Right away, Sage Intacct proved its value. “We gave our auditors read-only rights to Sage Intacct,” explains Posey. “They could access everything they needed electronically, which was helpful because our building was closed! We expect that our audit fees will go down due to the ease of access and the comprehensive audit trail that Sage Intacct keeps.”

Complex Processes Simplified and Automated

The AAC has complex receivables involving installment payments that Sage 100 could not handle, forcing staff to track the information manually. Sage Intacct easily accommodates installment billings, which has resulted in significant time savings for the organization.

Additionally, the AAC uses spreadsheets to calculate customized insurance rates for its members. Previously, staff would need to manually transfer the billing information for 75 counties and an additional 400 fire departments from the spreadsheets into Sage 100. “MicroAccounting helped us automate that step,” says Posey. “They configured an import utility that brings in the data from the spreadsheets and creates an accurate invoice in Sage Intacct. It has honestly revolutionized this process, saving time, increasing accuracy, and freeing our staff for other more value-added tasks.”

Next, the AAC has plans to extend the same level of efficiency to payables. “MicroAccounting is helping us evaluate ACH payments to streamline our payable process,” Posey says. “It’s so encouraging to see the improvements technology brings.”

The Value of Partnership

“I think it’s essential to have a partner like MicroAccounting,” concludes Posey. “We have a unique business model, and while Sage Intacct is capable of handling our processes, we didn’t have the software expertise to configure it for our use. MicroAccounting took the time to understand how we work and what we need from the software, and then configured it to not just duplicate what we had been doing, but to really optimize the workflows. The fact that they are well versed in accounting, not just accounting software, is a real asset.”